Philanthropic Gift Acceptance Policy

Philanthropic Gift Acceptance Policy


Policy Overview 

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSK) mission is to lead in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of cancer through programs of excellence in cost-effective research, education, outreach, and patient care. MSK encourages the solicitation, acceptance, and stewardship of philanthropic contributions for purposes that will help further and fulfill its mission. Acceptance of any philanthropic contribution or grant is solely at the discretion of MSK. 

Granted by MSK’s Board, the authority to accept philanthropic contributions in support of MSK’s mission rests with the Office of Development. Any philanthropic contribution or pledge $1 million or more that involves the naming of a space, research center, fellowship, chair, or other institutional initiative must receive approval from the Executive Committee of the Board. 

Philanthropic contributions are accepted when aligned with the mission of MSK, in accordance with the following principles: 

  • The acceptance of a philanthropic contribution does not indicate that MSK endorses or approves of the donor’s views, opinions, businesses, or activities. 
  • A philanthropic contribution will not be accepted if the funds or property donated were acquired by other than legal means or that clear title to the donated asset does not flow directly from the donor to MSK. 
  • A philanthropic contribution will not be accepted if MSK determines the intended purpose of the contribution and/or being associated with the donor of the contribution could cause damage to MSK’s reputation, standing or integrity, or is contrary to MSK’s principles and values. 
  • MSK will accommodate requests for a philanthropic contribution to remain anonymous, unless the purpose of anonymity is to disguise a contribution that otherwise may not have been accepted due to potential damage to MSK’s reputation or is otherwise prohibited by law. 
  • MSK respects the privacy of its donors, and will make every effort to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of its donors’ non-public information. 
  • A philanthropic contribution will not be accepted if acceptance involves undue administrative or operational burdens that will exceed expected benefits. 
  • Contributions to MSK will not confer special treatment or access to medical services. 
  • Philanthropic contributions for specific programs and purposes will be accepted, provided that such contributions are not inconsistent with MSK’s stated mission, purposes, and priorities. MSK will not accept philanthropic contributions upon which the donor or other authorized entity has placed conditions that are deemed too restrictive in purpose or too difficult to administer. 
  • MSK will share information about the receipt of philanthropic contributions in accordance with appropriate federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and in accordance with the accreditation standards of the Joint Commission for Accreditation and Certification of Healthcare Organizations.The Senior Vice President of Development and senior leadership, in consultation with MSK’s legal counsel, will review philanthropic contributions other than cash or marketable assets, contributions involving potential conflicts of interest, and those governed by agreements including intellectual property, indemnification, audit, publicity and other legal terms. These will be reviewed and accepted on a case-by-case basis. 

Donors are encouraged to support areas reflecting their interests. We encourage donors to seek guidance from their professional advisors on the tax implications of their philanthropic contributions and grants. Donors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the proposed contribution furthers their own charitable, financial, and estate planning goals. MSK and its staff do not provide legal, accounting, tax, or other advice to prospective donors. Donors’ advisors should be, and remain, independent from MSK. 

If future circumstances render a philanthropic contribution’s designated purpose set forth in the agreement either impracticable or impossible, then the contribution, or in case of endowment, distributable earnings, shall be used in such a manner as the then CEO or Board, or their appropriate designee(s), may agree upon, keeping in mind the original intent of the donor. 

All agreements which offer a naming opportunity for the donor shall expressly state that the installation of the name shall be contingent upon, and not completed until, MSK receives payment in the full amount. All agreements will note that, if in MSK’s sole discretion, it determines the conduct of the donor is detrimental to the reputation of or public confidence in MSK or is contrary to MSK’s principles and values, MSK is entitled to return a gift and/or remove the donor’s name from any physical property or other arrangement, including, without limitation, departmental chairs, fellowships, and research studies, without compensation to the donor. 

MSK’s Office of Development maintains a comprehensive philanthropic gift acceptance policy, which is reviewed and adhered to by all Development staff.